How to Replace a Heating Element for a Water Heater?
TechXpert verified by Rob Ilie
To replace the heating element of your water heater you’re going to need to shut off the power and water, drain the tank, remove the heating element and replace it, then put it all back together! A faulty heating element will need to be replaced, but you’ll want to diagnose and test your heating element before deciding to remove and replace the part. Here’s how to get that process underway.
What’s the Diagnosis?
First things first: shut off water and power to your water heater for maximum safety. The next step is diagnosing the problem, so you can detect the correct faulty heating element.
You can use a multimeter to detect faulty heating elements: this tool tests the flow of electricity through your heating element from your access panel. Begin by opening the access panel and removing the safety cover of your thermostat.
Disconnect the circuit wires from the screw terminals so you can test them. After testing your heating element and determining the faulty part, it’s time to drain your water heater tank.
Removing and Replacing
Once the tank has drained, you can remove the heating element. Remove it by unscrewing the base screws, and replace the faulty part. When replacing your heating element with a newer model, make sure to consider the wattage rating and voltage to make sure the heating element is compatible with your system.
Once the new heating element has been tightly screwed in, refill the water heater tank, reassemble the wires in your access panel, and replace the safety cover on the thermostat.
If you’ve double-checked that the screws are tight, the wires are correctly placed, and your safety cover is on, you can restore power and water to test your water heater.
What To Consider Before a DIY Heating Element Replacement
While replacing the heating element on your water heater isn’t overly tricky, it can be labor-intensive and it does require some basic knowledge of electrical wiring. So if you’re not sure what’s broken or if you’re not familiar with the process, it’s best to call in a plumber to help you get the job done.
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